Researchers look for clues about COVID-19 prevalence in Lincoln's wastewater

Jul 17, 2020

Nebraska and many other states have spent millions of dollars boosting their testing capacity and contact tracing infrastructure as part of the effort to grapple with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The Cornhusker State now reports thousands of test results every day from Test Nebraska, corporate labs and private health care providers, and has hundreds of contact tracers on standby to track the spread of the virus.

But what if a more effective early indicator of the spread of COVID-19 isn't the number of nasal swabs performed, or contacts interviewed, but instead what has been flushed down the toilet?

Since late April, researchers at the University of Nebraska have been monitoring wastewater in Lincoln, Omaha and Grand Island for traces of the coronavirus to study the method after it was proposed as a potential early warning system for community outbreaks.

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